Thursday, August 18, 2011

Cranberry Apricot Oat Squares

Last week, Dave's aunt and uncle were in town, so we went to my in-laws house for dinner.  Of course I took it upon myself to bring a dessert but I wasn't sure what I was going to make. I figured something fruity with a more adult palate (since of the six of us, I am probably the only chocolate freak).  If it had been a weekend, I would have probably made cheesecake because I have a few recipes I'm aching to try out.  But being a weeknight and needing something that would keep well until the next day and that Dave could transport easily since he picked me up on the way to his parents' house, I decided on these bars.  They are sweet and crunchy with a clever combination of fruit flavors.  The nuttiness of the oats, with the added wheat flour, is a nice balance to the sweet dried fruit and preserves.

The recipe is another Betty Crocker find, but I modified it slightly since I didn't have any strawberry preserves.  Instead I found a jar of cranberry-orange marmalade in the pantry and, knowing what a hit the Cranberry Apricot Bars are, knew this would be a great substitute.  They come together quick and bake up nicely and because the sweetness isn't sugary confection, they'd be good for brunch or a pot luck, too.

Cranberry Apricot Oat Squares


1 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup plus 2 Tablespoons old-fashioned oats, divided
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup brown sugar, packed
1/4 cup vegetable or canola oil
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 egg
1/2 cup cranberry marmalade (or preserves)
1/2 cup dried apricots, chopped
1 Tablespoon butter

In a large bowl, whisk together flour, 1/2 cup oats, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.  Set aside.

In a medium bowl, whisk together brown sugar, oil, vanilla and egg until smooth.

Stir into flour mixture until completely blended. 

Reserve 1/2 cup of dough for topping.  Turn remaining dough into a greased 8 x 8 inch pan and press into bottom.

Spread marmalade or preserves evenly over the dough.

Sprinkle chopped apricots on top of marmalade.

In a small bowl, combine reserved dough, 2 Tablespoons oats and butter.  Mix with a pastry blender until crumbly.  Drop by small spoonfuls evenly over apricots.

Bake at 350 degrees F for 24-28 minutes or until top is golden and firm.  Cool completely (about an hour and a half).  Cut into bars.

Makes 16 bars.

Happy Baking,
The Cookie Princess

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